In what has become the most open race in recent years, college basketball was blown wide open again on Saturday as a slew of AP-ranked sides fell by the wayside.
Whilst the likes of Duke and North Carolina State returned to winning ways, Saturday’s schedule saw no fewer than six Top 25 teams fall to non-ranked opposition, with the most high-profile upsets coming in the Big East.
#3 Syracuse 71, Villanova 75 (OT)
#3 Syracuse (18-2, 6-1 Big East) was the first side on Saturday to come up short against a non-ranked opponent. The Orange had been flying high with an 18-1 record and an unbeaten tally in the Big East. Jim Boeheim’s side had relished in Louisville’s shortcomings over the last week.
That was until a trip to Villanova (13-7, 4-3 Big East). The Wildcats picked off Syracuse in overtime, just four days after knocking off the Cardinals. The Orange had been favored by 5½ points going into the game, but ended up losing for the first time in conference play. Despite the result, Syracuse remains at the top of the Big East, just ahead of Marquette and Pittsburgh.
#5 Louisville 51, Georgetown 53
#5 Louisville (16-4, 4-3 Big East) followed up two straight losses with more disappointment on Saturday, this time in D.C.
Georgetown (14-4, 4-3 Big East) covered a +5 spread and scored a narrow win over the luckless Cardinals, who now find themselves sixth in the conference just two weeks after being the top-ranked team in the nation. This poor run of form could see Rick Pitino’s side plummet down the AP poll on Monday.
#11 Kansas State 67, Iowa State 73
#11 Kansas State (15-4, 4-2 Big 12) followed up Tuesday’s loss to #3 Kansas with another loss, this time to Iowa State (14-5, 4-2 Big 12). Whilst Iowa State might not have been ranked heading into this one, the Cyclones were the bookies’ pick to win the game, opening with as the favorite with the spread at 3. This loss alone might not have had a huge factor on Kansas State, but coupled with Tuesday’s loss it could see the Wildcats drop a long way down.
#12 Minnesota 44, Wisconsin 45
Like Kansas State, #12 Minnesota (15-5, 3-4 Big Ten) wasn’t favored by bookmakers headed into this one. The Golden Gophers (+1½) had lost three straight, and were in free fall. That free fall just got a whole lot worse, as the Badgers scored a one-point victory on Saturday.
Wisconsin (14-6, 5-2 Big Ten) snapped a two-game losing streak, scoring its first win since defeating a #2 Indiana side on Jan. 15. The Badgers have now won three games against ranked opposition since the turn of the year.
#15 New Mexico 34, San Diego State 55
#15 New Mexico (17-3, 4-1 MWC) head coach Steve Alford criticized the lack of support for the Mountain West Conference in the AP polls earlier this week, stating that there were four sides that should have been ranked. One of those sides made mincemeat of the Lobos on Saturday.
San Diego State (16-4, 4-2 MWC) made a push for this week’s AP poll with a 21-point win over New Mexico, as decisive victory as you’re likely to see between the sides. Bookmakers certainly expected something a lot closer, setting the spread at 3½. Vegas did get one thing right though; they had the Aztecs as favorites.
La Salle 69, #19 Virginia Commonwealth 61
Notice any trends above? That’s right; all of the ranked teams that came up short on Saturday were playing on the road. Now, welcome Virginia Commonwealth.
The Rams of Virginia Commonwealth (16-5, 4-2 A 10) had already experienced one loss this week – a 86-74 defeat at Richmond – before the side came up short at home on Saturday. La Salle (14-5, 4-2 A 10) meanwhile scored its second victory over ranked opposition of the week, after defeating Minnesota on Wednesday.
With two losses this week, expect the Rams to drop out of the AP poll completely this week.
A Week of Upsets
The six ranked sides that fell to non-ranked opposition on Saturday brought this week’s total up to a staggering 13.
Things started on Monday when Georgetown defeated #24 Notre Dame, a win that, coupled with Saturday’s win, will almost certainly see the Hoyas make this week’s Top 25.
On Tuesday Villanova upset #5 Louisville while Wake Forest handed #18 North Carolina State a loss.
On Wednesday, La Salle beat #12 Minnesota and #17 Creighton fell to Drake. The big news that day was #25 Miami’s demolition job of Duke, which whilst it was a game between ranked opponents at least deserves mention here.
Thursday saw Richmond defeat #19 Virginia Commonwealth, and UCLA had #6 Arizona a loss.
Three more ranked sides will be looking to avoid losing to non-ranked opposition on Sunday, the highest profile of which will be #2 Michigan (18-1, 5-1 Big Ten). A win for the Wolverines could very well put the side at the top of the poll. A loss will all but assure Kansas takes that spot.
Meanwhile, #25 Miami (14-3, 5-0 ACC) could be primed for a huge leap, providing the Hurricanes can add Florida State (11-7, 3-2 ACC) to its list of scalps this season.
Sunday’s AP Top 25 Schedule
#2 Michigan @ Illinois
#13 Michigan State @ #7 Indiana
#17 Creighton @ Southern Illinois
Florida State @ #25 Miami (FL)